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What Meals Should You Make This American Heart Month? Learn From Our RD Expert

When’s the last time you had a “heart to heart” about heart health? There’s no better time to be completely open and honest about the importance of your heart health and the heart health of those you care about than February, as it’s American Heart Month.

You might wonder why a whole month is dedicated to the health of your “ticker” and has goals that include educating Americans about the risk factors of heart disease or motivating people to adopt healthy lifestyles that prevent heart disease. Unfortunately, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The good news is that making small and simple lifestyle changes can be the key to preventing heart disease—especially when you include your friends and family. Make a commitment to heart health this February, together!

The first American Heart Month happened back in February of 1964, and on its 56th anniversary,  the National Institutes of Health wants you to take advantage of the following heart-friendly ideas:

 

Week 1 Theme: Be physically active together

Share how you’re moving more with others. Have walking meetings. Start a walking club with your church group. Join an exercise class with a neighbor. Share on social media!

Week 2 Theme: Eat healthier together

Share heart healthy recipes with friends. Go grocery shopping with your family for healthy ingredients. Make a heart healthy meal for a potluck. Share on social media!

Week 3 Theme: Track your heart health stats together

Remind each other to keep a log of your blood pressure, healthy weight goals, and physical activity. Share on social media!

Week 4 Theme: Manage stress, sleep better, and quit smoking together

Use your support “squad” to remind each other to stick to the same bedtime every night. Do a stress reducing activity like yoga or meditation together. Tell a friend you’re quitting smoking and ask for their support. Share on social media!

 

It’s important to know that the foods you eat and the nutrition they provide can have an impact on your heart health. Adopting good nutrition practices by setting small, realistic goals for yourself and your family can be one of the many lifestyle choices that help defend against heart disease. Cooking at home can also be an effective way to benefit heart health, and when you ask those you care about to cook with you, it makes sticking to your goals even easier. Each day, the American Heart Association recommends eating:*

  • Fruits and vegetables: At least 4.5 cups a day
  • Fish (preferably oily fish, like salmon): At least two 3.5-ounce servings a week
  • Fiber-rich whole grains: At least three 1-ounce servings a day
  • Nuts, legumes and seeds: At least 4 servings a week, opting for unsalted varieties whenever possible

*For an adult consuming 2,000 calories per day.

For American Heart Month, try these nutritious meals made with Libby’s® Fruit & Vegetables. Remember, small but consistent changes can lead to big things in the long run for heart health, especially as it relates to good nutrition.

 

loaded-beet-hummus

Loaded Beet Hummus made with Libby’s® Sliced Beets

Beets have six different nutrients like folate and vitamin A. They also have potassium. Potassium is important for keeping your heart working properly.

Make this recipe


carrot-green-bean-salad

Carrot and Green Bean Salad made with Libby’s® Cut Green Beans and Libby’s® Sliced Carrots

Carrots and green beans contain fiber. The American Heart Association recommends consuming a diet abundant in fiber-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables.

Make this recipe


salmon-dill-green-bean-salad

Salmon and Dill Green Bean Salad made with Libby’s® Cut Green Beans

The American Heart Association recommends eating 2 servings of fish (particularly fatty fish like salmon that are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids) per week.

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double-peach-smoothie

Double Peach Smoothie made with Libby’s® Peach Slices (in Heavy Syrup)

Getting proper nutrition in is as easy as this double peach smoothie! Peaches have vitamin C, potassium and fiber.

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For more recipe ideas and inspiration, check out Libby’s® Recipe Box and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.